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Entries in jerusalem (2)

Sunday
Jul312011

CakeSpy Undercover: Waffle Bar, Jerusalem, Israel

Photos: Margot L.CakeSpy Note: This is a sweet dispatch from Cake Gumshoe Margot L.!

I discovered the BEST waffles ever while in Jerusalem, Israel, at the Waffle Bar.  Light, fluffy, delicious; served with ice cream and whipped cream (plus your choice of toppings!) and - the best part - served ALL DAY!!!

Well. That plus the photos was just about enough to get me on a plane ASAP, but I also found an interesting writeup on Waffle Bar on GoJerusalem.com:

Jerusalem's nightlife scene is known for its sweet tooth. Sure, the city has its share of pre-drinking gathering spots (and post-revelry munch binge institutions) offering pizza, griddled meats and sandwiches, but in the wee hours, the party people can be observed huddled in highest concentrations around modest, beloved local joints frying up French crepes and Belgian waffles with homemade toppings concocted to order. 

At the turn of the millennium, when the high-concept nightlife-restaurant scene of Shlomtzion Hamalka St. was beginning to reach a fever pitch, some enterprising Jerusalemites decided to take the sweet munch spot idea a step further, adding stylish urban lounge-like design, plush seating, atmospheric lighting, a respectable alcohol menu, and a full cafe menu to the mix. Thus, in the year 2000, Waffle Bar was born. 

Open from the pre-work coffee hours on weekdays and into the wee hours every night, Waffle Bar transports patrons of all ages and from all walks of life to a contemporary, cozy and welcoming place with waffles and crepes topped generously with all imaginable varieties of froths, yogurts, syrups, ice creams, spreads and fruits both fresh and preserved by sheer force of sugar. And yes, sweet staples like chocolate fondue and pancakes are available as well. 

In addition to these sweet concoctions is a variety of savory dishes, with menu sections dedicated to salty crepe variations, five types of cafe-style salad (served with fresh focaccia), pastas, and toasted laffa sanwiches with cheese and vegetable fillings (served with side salads). Waffle Bar also offers shakes, an old-fashioned soda fountain, cocktails and an array of hot drinks. 

The Waffle Bar empire has grown in the years since its launch, with a Derech Beit Lechem branch having been inaugurated in 2008, and newer branches having sprung up on Hillel St. downtown and on Emek Refaim St. as well. All branches are available for private events, takeout and catering.

For more information, visit GoJerusalem.com!

Thursday
Jul282011

CakeSpy Undercover: Ha'Blender Ice Cream, Jerusalem, Israel

CakeSpy Note: This is a sweet dispatch from Cake Gumshoe Margot L.!

It was love at first sight when I discovered the ice cream parlor Ha'Blender, previously known as Shukilida, during my first month of my semester abroad in Jerusalem, Israel. It was a Friday afternoon and I was shopping in the shuk, or open-air market, which was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with what seemed to be the entire population of Jerusalem.

One of the staff members of Ha'Blender was giving out free samples of their famous Jerusalem flavor, and after one bite I was completely hooked. Ha'Blender, whose name means “The Blender” in Hebrew, makes custom ice cream flavors for its customers – you pick a base flavor and up to three mix-ins, and it gets mixed in the blender. Base flavors include vanilla, chocolate, banana, bubblegum, and more, and you can also opt for a healthier yogurt base. The mix-ins range from fruit (strawberries, bananas, peaches, mango) to halvah (a sesame-seed based sweet), nuts, and different types of chocolate, including Israeli chocolate bars such as me'ku'pelet, m&m-like candy, and more! The possibilities are endless.

Though their specialty is custom ice cream, you can also order iced coffee and other cold drinks, which are perfect on a hot day – and every day is a hot day in Jerusalem in the summer!

Ha'Blender's storefront is a tiny “hole-in-the-wall” in the shuk, which is part of what makes it so absolutely charming. They don't have a website, but their business card (which doubles as a frequent- buyer card – buy six, get one free!) lists a phone number. Staff members are incredibly welcoming, are fluent in both English and Hebrew, and, if you're a regular, they'll remember you! There's seating on a small patio next to the main through-fare of the market, providing refuge for customers who have successfully navigated the chaos of the market. It's worth the effort!

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